Dissonance and healthy weight eating disorder prevention programs: a randomized efficacy trial

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2006 Apr;74(2):263-75. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.74.2.263.


In this trial, adolescent girls with body dissatisfaction (N = 481, M age = 17 years) were randomized to an eating disorder prevention program involving dissonance-inducing activities that reduce thin-ideal internalization, a prevention program promoting healthy weight management, an expressive writing control condition, or an assessment-only control condition. Dissonance participants showed significantly greater reductions in eating disorder risk factors and bulimic symptoms than healthy weight, expressive writing, and assessment-only participants, and healthy weight participants showed significantly greater reductions in risk factors and symptoms than expressive writing and assessment-only participants from pretest to posttest. Although these effects faded over 6-month and 12-month follow-ups, dissonance and healthy weight participants showed significantly lower binge eating and obesity onset and reduced service utilization through 12-month follow-up, suggesting that both interventions have public health potential.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cognitive Dissonance*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Social Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome